Option 1: Detox
Depending on the results of your intake, your evaluator may recommend detoxification as your first treatment. Detoxification (detox) refers to the body’s ability to process and remove toxins from the system.
Professional detox is different, though. Professional detox is a set of strategies and interventions used to safely and effectively transition someone to a drug-free state.
Detox is an option for people with severe addiction and people who are using opioids, sedatives, or alcohol. These three types of substances are significant because they tend to produce the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms when use ends.
Detox occurs in a number of different levels and locations with most detox treatment separated by inpatient or outpatient detox. Generally, people with the most severe addictions or physical dependences will require inpatient detox while people with fewer, less severe symptoms will do well in outpatient detox.
Many detoxes are medically assisted or medically supervised, which means a team of medical professionals is tasked with observing and treating the symptoms of withdrawal as they present. This level of care, which can occur in numerous inpatient and outpatient settings like hospitals, standalone detox centers, and doctors’ offices, often involve the medical professional prescribing and dispensing medications to ease the detox process.
Another type of detox, called social detox, does not offer medications, and instead, focuses on offering support, encouragement, and reassurance for appropriate steps towards sobriety. Though this method of detox is helpful for many, it is a dangerous level of care for someone detoxing from multiple substances or opioids, alcohol, and sedatives.
The time it takes to complete detox varies greatly from program to program. One of the major factors is the treatment plan the professionals choose to employ. In some treatments, the substance use is abruptly discontinued, which will produce a shorter, more intense period of withdrawal.
In other situations, the professionals will switch the individual to a prescription substance to establish a level of stability on the new drug before gradually reducing the dose over time. This tapering or weaning process will minimize the unwanted effects of withdrawal, but it will extend the overall time of the detox process.
Depending on the abused drug and the new medication used to relieve symptoms, the detox process can last for months or years. With this being the case, treatment may begin as an inpatient before switching to outpatient detox when enough safety and stability is established.
Since detox specifically deals with the physical health risks associated with ending substance use, it is the best tool to target and end physical dependence. The problem, though, is that detox, by itself, is not enough to completely end the psychological addiction triggered by the substance.
Option 2: Inpatient Rehab
If detox is for dependence, rehab is for addiction. Rehab is not a specific term with a strict definition, but it usually refers to any form of substance abuse treatment that is not detox.
Like detox, rehab takes place in a number of settings, offers a number of services, and lasts for a number of durations. The most intense form of rehab is inpatient rehabilitation.
Inpatient rehab is any type of rehab that involves that individual living entirely at the treatment center during their stay in treatment. Unlike detox, inpatient rehab settings will appear more like home-like settings rather than the stark hospital-like environments of most detoxes.
During inpatient rehab, the residents – as they are often called – spend their day engaging in a variety of activities and exercises focused on establishing and maintaining a drug-free life. These activities may include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Medication assessments
- Spirituality exercises
- Physical health activities like:
- Horseback riding
- Healthy eating
Some inpatient rehabs will provide simple treatments in a simple setting, but other rehabs will be quite luxurious with picturesque scenery, gourmet meals, treatments conducted by world-class professionals, and even workspaces for executives to manage their business affairs. These elaborate treatments frequently come with a cost that exceeds tens of thousands of dollars for the entire stay.